This playground is named for August Heckscher (1848-1941), real estate magnate, financier, philanthropist, and grandfather of August Heckscher (1913-1997), Parks Commissioner under Mayor John V. Lindsay (1921-2000, mayor 1966-73). Heckscher the elder was born in Hamburg, the son of the German Minister of Justice in the provisional German government. He studied in Switzerland and served as an apprentice at an export house in Hamburg, then moved to New York in 1867. Heckscher spoke no English when he arrived, so he joined the Mercantile Library at Astor Place in Lower Manhattan and reportedly taught himself to read the language in three weeks. Heckscher then began pursuing his fortunes, first running a coal mine near Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and later in zinc plants in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Sussex County, New Jersey. In the early 1900s, Heckscher grew interested in Manhattan real estate, and after a few initial investment blunders, reaped millions in profits.
Directions to Heckscher Playground
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- Heckscher Playground Reconstruction
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